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L E’s Stories – “Running Back Known As The Sealy Flash Becomes An SMU Mustangs & L A Rams & Indianapolis Colts Legend” – The Story Of Eric Dickerson

I remember Bone Daddy telling me a story about having driven to Waco in 1978 to see the Texas UIL 2A football championship game between defending champion Wylie verses Sealy at Baylor Stadium….which was a game that featured the best running back in the State of Texas, Eric Dickerson in 1978….who was a 6’3″ 210 lb runner that had 9.4 speed in the 100 yard dash…..who literally dominated the game as he ran for a then playoff record of 296 yards and four touchdowns (3 rushing, 1 receiving) in a 42-20 Class AA state championship win….as Dickerson left the field with over 5,900 career rushing yards.  As evidenced by the video below….Eric Dickerson was a “man among boys” on the gridiron in 1978….which was definitely a foreshadowing of things to come in college while at SMU…..and in the NFL for the L A Rams and Indianapolis Colts….for Dickerson was truly a running back legend in high school….in college….and in the NFL during his 11 year career…..who certainly deserves this ImaSportsphile tribute regarding his illustrious career.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

Football – 1978 – Texas UIL 2A State Championship Game Highlights – Sealy Vs Wylie – Featuring Sealy RB Eric Dickerson

 

Football – 1978 – Special – “Eric Dickerson’s College Recruiting Journey”                                                                                                                               

 

Eric Dickerson (born September 2, 1960) is an American former professional football player….who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for 11 seasons.  Dickerson played college football for the Mustangs of Southern Methodist University….. while being recognized as a 2nd tem All-American in 1981…..and a 1st team All American in 1982….and was 3rd in the Heisman Trophy vote in 1982.  He was selected with the 2nd pick of the 1st round of the 1983 NFL Draft….and played professionally for the Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Raider, and Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. During his NFL career, he rushed for over 13,000 yards….as he holds the NFL’s single-season rushing record with 2,105 yards….which was set in 1984. Dickerson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999…..and in 2019, he was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.  He is also a member of the Collegiate Football Hall of Fame….as he wore prescription goggles throughout his career due to myopia.                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

Football – 1975 To 1993 – NFL Films Special – “A Football Life – Eric Dickerson”                                                                                                                               

 

Dickerson originally committed to Texas A&M before reconsidering and deciding between Oklahoma, Southern California and Southern Methodist University (SMU)……as his great-great aunt talked him into staying in the state of Texas to attend Southern Methodist University because she liked SMU coach Ron Meyer.  Dickerson was the subject of recruiting controversy when he started driving a new Pontiac Trans-Am during his senior year of high school…..as covered in the video above….for according to “myth,” Dickerson began driving a new Pontiac Trans-Am automobile about the same time he committed to A&M….and when he signed with SMU, he suddenly was not driving the Trans-Am “because it had been destroyed by a vengeful Aggie”…..while SMU Coach Ron Meyer famously called the car, the “Trans A&M.”….when at the time he said his grandmother from Mexico bought it for him.  Dickerson still refuses today to answer on whether or not he accepted anything to attend SMU, saying, “Even if I did take something, I still wouldn’t tell.”

 

Football – 1979 To 1982 – Special – Eric Dickerson & Craig James Talk SMU Football + Coach Meyers

 

Initially, Dickerson shared carries with Craig James and Charles Waggoner…. as all three were blue-chip recruits in 1979….but Waggoner was hurt returning a kickoff their freshman season….which left Dickerson and James to lead SMU’s running attack….as it became known as the Pony Express. Dickerson gained 4,450 yards on 790 carries to break Earl Campbell’s  Southwest Conference record for yards and attempts…..plus his 48 career touchdowns tied Doak Walker’s SMU total for career scoring.  In his senior year, despite splitting time with James, Dickerson finished 3rd in the Heisman Trophy voting, behind Herschel Walker and John Elway.  He was also a 1st-team All-American in 1982 and a 2nd-team All-American in 1981.                                                                                                                                                 

 

NCAA Football – 1980 – SMU Football Highlights – Featuring RB Eric Dickerson

 

NCAA Football – 1979 To 1982 – Eric Dickerson SMU Football Highlights – Part 1

 

NCAA Football – 1979 To 1982 – Eric Dickerson SMU Football Highlights – Part 2

 

NCAA Football – 1982 – Highlights – Texas Longhorns Vs SMU Mustangs – Featuring SMU RB Eric Dickerson

 

While he considered going to the Los Angeles Express in the United States Football League, Dickerson decided to go into the National Football League. He was selected second overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. An immediate success, he established rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most touchdowns rushing (18), including another two receiving touchdowns. His efforts earned him All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.

 

 

NFL – 1984 – NFL FIlms Special – Top 10 Rookie Seasons of All Time – #2 Eric Dickerson

 

NFL – 1984 – Special – Eric Dickerson: “The Greatest Rookie Season in NFL History”                                                                                                                                

 

NFL – 1984 – Special – Eric Dickerson Rookie Season Highlights

In his second season, Dickerson continued his onslaught on the NFL record book by becoming a member of the 2,000-yard club….when in 1984 he gained more than 100 yards rushing a dozen times….while breaking the record of 100-yard games in a season held by O. J. Simpson.  His 2,105 total yards rushing beat Simpson’s 1973 NFL season record of 2,003 yards….while Dickerson reached 2,007 yards after 15 games….but since the NFL expanded the regular season from 14 to 16 games in 1978, Dickerson had the benefit of playing in two additional games.  The fact remains that no one has since rushed for more yards in a single NFL season.  Dickerson’s 5.6 yards per carry led the Rams to a playoff berth in 1984.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

NFL – 1984 – Highlights – L A Rams Vs Tampa Bay Bucs – Featuring Eric Dickerson 28 Carries 191 Yards

 

NFL – 1984 – Special – “The Greatest Offensive Season In NFL History” – Featuring Dolphins QB Dan Marino + Rams RB Eric Dickerson

 

 

NFL – 1984 – Highlights – Houston Oilers Vs L A Rams – Featuring Rams RB Eric Dickerson Breaking O J Simpson’s Season Rushing Record

 

Although he rushed for 1,234 yards in 1985 while missing the first two games while in a contract dispute, he missed the Pro Bowl for the first time in his short NFL career. He did go on to rush for a playoff record 248 yards against the Dallas Cowboys in post-season play.                                                           

 

NFL – 1985 – NFC Divisional Playoff Game – Dallas Cowboys Vs L A Rams – With Jack Buck + Hank Stram – Featuring Rams RB Eric Dickerson’s 248 Yard Playoff Rushing Record

NFL – 1985 – Legends Of The Playoffs Special – Eric Dickerson: “The Story of the GREATEST Rushing Performance in Playoff History”

The 1985 season marked the beginning of on-going contract disputes between Dickerson and the Rams. In 1987, after playing just three games for the Rams during the strike-shortened 1987 season, Dickerson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in one of the NFL’s biggest trades ever at that time. In a three-team deal, the Colts traded linebacker Cornelius Bennett, whom they drafted but were unable to sign to a contract, to the Buffalo Bills for their first-round pick in 1988, first- and second-round picks in 1989, and running back Greg Bell. The Colts in turn traded Bell and the three draft choices from Buffalo plus their own first- and second-round picks in 1988, their second round pick in 1989, and running back Owen Gill to the Rams for Dickerson. With the picks the Rams took running back Gaston Green, wide receiver  Aaron Cox, linebacker Fred Strickland, running back Cleveland Gary, linebacker Frank Stams, and defensive back Darryl Henley.  The trade reunited Dickerson with Ron Meyer, who had left SMU after Dickerson’s junior season to take the head coaching position in New England and who was hired by the Colts in 1986 following Rod Dowhower’s firing.                                           

 

NFL – 1987 To 1989 – Indianapolis Colts Highlights – “Unstoppable RB Eric Dickerson”                                                                                                                              

NFL – 1987 To 1989 – Eric Dickerson Colts Highlights

 

Although he played in just nine games with the Colts that year, he still managed to gain 1,011 yards to finish the season with 1,288.  Also, he spearheaded a late season Colts run that helped the team to their first winning season (and first playoff berth) in 10 years.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

NFL – 1987 – NFL Films Presents – “Off And Running” – The 1987 Colts

 

In 1988, Dickerson, with 1,659 yards rushing, became the first Colt to lead the league in rushing since Alan Ameche in 1955…..as this would mark the apogee of Dickerson’s career with the Colts….albeit he would gain 1,311 yards rushing in 1989.  Also, 1989 was the year that he passed the 10,000-yard mark….while becoming the fastest player ever to do so in 91 games….. which was an accomplishment of the feat faster than greats like Jim Brown in 98 games….Barry Sanders in 103 games….Emmitt Smith in 106 games…..and LaDainian Tomlinson in 106 games.  By 1989, Dickerson had set a new NFL record with seven straight seasons of more than 1,000 yards rushing….while leading the league in rushing for four of those seasons.  With the retirement of Tony Dorsett at the end of 1988, he became the leader among active players in career rushing yards….which was a position he occupied until his own retirement in 1993.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

NFL – 1983 To 1993 – NFL FIlms Top 100 NFL Greatest Players – # 52 RB Eric Dickerson

 

However, injuries, further contract disputes and suspensions clouded his final two seasons with the Colts…..as Dickerson, at 29, was the highest paid running back in the NFL….while receiving an annual reported salary of $1.4 million…..when following prolonged contract disputes, the fed-up Colts placed him on the inactive list before the start of the 1990 season….where he stayed for 7 weeks….while losing more than $600,000 in salary…..when in his 6th game back from suspension, he rushed for 143 yards against the Bengals on 22 carries…..as this effort lifted him past Jim Brown to 3rd place on the NFL career rushing list behind Walter Payton and Tony Dorsett.  He was again suspended in November 1991….and amidst injuries and age, managed to run for only 536 yards that season. The Colts finished the year bottoming out with a 1–15 record.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

NFL – 1983 To 1993 – Special – Career Highlights of RB Eric Dickerson

 

On April 26, 1992, Dickerson was traded by the Colts to the Los Angeles Raiders for their 4rth and 8th-round picks in the 1992 draft….and there were occasional flashes of greatness…..with 107 yards against the Broncos and 103 against the Chargers….when he recorded his 63rd and 64th career 100 yard games…..but those would be his last.  Dickerson also scored on a 40-yard touchdown run, reminiscent of his prime, in front of a nationally televised Monday Night audience in a game against Kansas City.  That year, he led the team in rushing attempts and yards…..however, he suffered from having to  split carries with Marcus Allen….while having the latter finish the 2nd half of the season.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

NFL – 1992 – Monday Night Football – K C Chiefs Vs Oakland Raiders – With Frank Gifford + Dan Dierdorff + Al Michaels

 

The following season, Dickerson was traded to the Atlanta Falcons on July 7, 1993 for a sixth-round draft pick. He played in a backup role, making his final national televised appearance during the Monday Night Football game on September 27, 1993 when the Falcons hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in a losing effort. The Falcons traded Dickerson and third-year cornerback Bruce Pickens to the Green Bay Packers for running back John Stephens on October 13, 1993.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

NFL – 1993 – Monday Night Football – Pittsburgh Steelers Vs Atlanta Falcons – With RB Eric Dickerson’s Final Televised Game

 

The trade came a week after Dickerson said he had been told that the Falcons were waiving him because Coach Jerry Glanville wanted to use younger players. The next day, Falcons officials said that there had been a misunderstanding and that Dickerson had not been placed on waivers. Dickerson retired as the second leading rusher of all-time after failing a physical with the Packers.  On August 29, 2017, Dickerson signed a one-day contract to officially retire as a member of the Los Angeles Rams.                                                                                                                                                                   

NFL – 2016 – Special – “Top 10 Running Backs in NFL History” – Featuring Eric Dickerson At # 8

 

Dickerson became the seventh back to gain more than 10,000 yards and the fastest ever to do so, reaching the milestone in just 91 games. During his 11-year career, Dickerson gained 13,259 yards rushing, which was second all-time at the time of his retirement, and rushed for 90 touchdowns. He gained another 2,137 yards and 6 touchdowns on 281 pass receptions. A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Dickerson was All-Pro in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1988.  In 1999, his first year of eligibility, Eric Dickerson was selected to become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also in 1999, he was ranked number 38 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. The following year, he provided on-field commentary during  Monday Night Football broadcasts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

NFL – 1983 To 1993 – Special – Eric Dickerson’s Hall of Fame Highlight Video

 

The Rams’ number 29 has been retired in his honor.  Dickerson was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor during the week 15 game against the Houston Texans on December 15, 2013 along with Marshall Faulk, who is also a former Colts running back.  In 1999, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  In 2019, he was one of twelve running backs selected to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.  Dickerson was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

NFL & Talk Shows – 2018 – Skip & Shannon: Undisputed – With Guest Eric Dickerson On Backlash Faced From Hall of Fame Protests About Player Pensions

 

Along with Melissa Stark, Dickerson served as a sideline reporter on Monday Night Football broadcasts for ABC during the 2000 and 2001 NFL seasons.  During the 2007 football season and 2016 football season, Dickerson worked as a broadcaster for KCBS television in Los Angeles, providing commentary for NFL pregame and postgame shows.  He started a sports memorabilia company called Original Mini Jerseys with former Los Angeles Rams teammate LeRoy Irvin. The company received their NFL license in 2006 and sells authentic miniature replica jerseys. He also owns an internet-based sporting goods company, E Champs.  He is currently an NFL analyst for Fox Sports’ FS1.                                                                                            

 

NFL & Talk Show – 2019 – The Dan Patrick Show – With Guest Eric Dickerson On Rams, RB’s, & More

 

 

As I put the finishing touches on the story and career of Eric Dickerson….and after watching the videos that I posted in this tribute….it has become obvious to me that this running back was cut from a very special “bolt of cloth”…..as there has simply not been any other backs in the history of the game of football that were 6’3″ tall….while weighing 220 pounds…..who had instinctive vision and could “cut on a dime”…..while embodying world class speed….and if you don’t agree with these conclusions, then you simply need to watch these videos once again.  As Bone Daddy recalls seeing him perform live in the 1978 Texas UIL 2A State Championship game….when he rushed for 296 yards…..and scored 4 touchdowns in a victory over a very good Wylie team who were defending state champions….“I have never seen a better performance by a running back live and in color….for this cat was a man amongst boys.”  Simply put, Eric Dickerson more than deserves his place in our ImaSportsphile tribute section….as we are honored to provided evidence of his incredible skills on the gridiron for generations to come.                                                                                                                                                                  

 

 NFL – 1996 – NFL Films – “Greatest Runners Ever” – Featuring Eric Dickerson Et Al

 

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